August has been a fantastic month for scented garden plants.
The home has been blessed with the exotic scents of oriental lilies.
They had been planted in several locations beside the patio and front entrance to be enjoyed by ourselves and visitors with their huge flowers and strong perfume. However, although it has been a warm and sunny month you can’t expect everything in the garden to be rosy all the time so along came our Scottish gales to bring us back down to earth.
Unfortunately my tub of lily Chelsea suffered a few losses as the gales snapped a few stems off at ground level.
A similar fate befell the very tall Japanese Golden Ray lilies, but this proved to be a blessing in disguise as these were taken indoors without too much damage and continued to blossom in vases for the next few weeks, filling the house with a fantastic perfume.
Everyone has been so impressed that I have made a note to buy a lot more lilies in autumn for both flower power and that exotic scent.
Although our garden is now fairly mature it is never complete as we keep finding new plants to try out, then others get discarded if they have out grown their space to make room for the newcomers.
We walk the garden at every opportunity while the sun shines to enjoy the flowers and make plans for future improvements.
We have become aware that scented plants rate highly in our planting schemes. There are scented plants available to cover every month from January to December.
In winter the Viburnum fragrans has its day followed by other Viburnums in spring, and of course if you grow herbs for the kitchen there is plenty of scented foliage around with Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Mint.
As spring appears the Lilac can be a stunner, and most daffodils and narcissi are also very scented especially the Jonquills and Cheerfulness varieties. Last autumn I purchased a whole range of scented tulips as described in bulb catalogues as I had been very impressed with the scented white tulip Purissima. Maybe they need the right combination of sunshine, warmth and moist atmosphere, but I could not pick up any scent worth noting.
However in spring the hyacinths will not disappoint, and I always replant the bulbs from tubs to some border between deciduous shrubs as they will grow and flower every year.
Summer is the time when we spend more days around the garden enjoying numerous scents from the honeysuckle to the border carnations and pinks. These are not always easy to grow in Scotland as they prefer a drier climate with well drained soil, but I found an ideal spot at the top of a south facing wall in full sun.
Border carnations and pinks are ideal for cut flower for the home and add some clove scents.
Sweet peas are another must for cut flower and although they may be short lived, they always seem to produce a continuous supply of blossoms if you keep them dead headed.
Two plants with great scent for tubs and summer borders are the blue petunias and the Brugmansia, also known as the Angels Trumpet. The Brugmansia is pollinated by a night flying moth so its scent is strongest in late evenings after a warm summer’s day.
Roses remain high on my list of scented plants for the garden, but they are not as popular today as they were in the past as many are prone to blackspot, rust and mildew, and many chemicals used to control diseases are no longer available. Only answer is to seek out those with strong healthy foliage, but make sure the rose has good scent. I still grow the white Margaret Merrill and red E H Morse for perfect scented blooms though both can be troubled with disease.
Wee jobs to do this week
Late summer is a good time to propagate some shrubs with matured shoots such as indoor and outdoor fuchsias. Take shoots four inches long, removing the lower leaves and dibble in around the edges of a pot containing well drained compost. Keep them shaded and well watered and they should be well rooted by the end of autumn when they can get potted up and overwintered in a cool greenhouse.